Wales

Hungarian village marks Christmas with Welsh songs

Elizabeth Sillo and a man Image copyright Preflect
Image caption Elizabeth Sillo (right) has brought three Welsh-Hungarian concerts to Kunagota in the south-east of Hungary

Villagers in Hungary has been celebrating Christmas by singing carols in Welsh, despite nobody there ever visiting Wales.

The concert in the village of Kunagota, about 12 miles (19km) from the Romanian border in south-eastern Hungary, also featured Hungarian and English songs.

The event was organised by Hungarian-born opera singer Elizabeth Sillo, a former Cardiff resident.

She said the residents "really value" the Welsh language.

Image copyright Preflect
Image caption Kunagota lies about 150 miles (250km) south east of Hungary's capital Budapest

The first Welsh-Hungarian concert was brought to Kunagota in the summer of 2018 by Ms Sillo, opera singer Orsolya Ferenczy, from the National Theatre of Dzeged, and Dorothy Singh, director of the Kodlay violin school in Carmarthenshire.

The concerts have become popular in the region, with the nearby town of Mezokovaschaza and the Romania town of Battonya requesting Welsh events.

There is also a Welsh-Hungarian concert and folk-dance event which takes place in the Urdd Hall of Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre every March.

Image caption Kunagota lies close to the border with Romania

The village of 2,500 people heard songs including the little-known Tua Bethlem Dref, while Silent Night was sung in Welsh, Hungarian, English and German.

Ms Sillo said: "As soon as we began singing in Welsh, I could feel the locals were astonished by the performance.

"Thanks to the annual concerts, the residents of Kunagota really value the Welsh language and are extremely delighted to hear Welsh music right on their doorstep.

"My proudest moment so far was teaching popular Welsh songs such as 'Sosban Fach' and 'Ar Lan y Môr' to the locals, who then sang along with excitement.

"It was truly heart-warming to see people who had previously known very little about Wales joining in and embracing this amazing culture."

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